With everything we do, perseverance is key if we want to attain our ultimate goal.
Growing up in Santa Fe, New Mexico, I witnessed a lot of moments that I now look back on and thank God for the ability to persevere. Before I go any further, let me stop and say that I am not going to exaggerate the reality of my past, but I am going to paint a picture to help you understand what I mean by needing perseverance to overcome.
In 7th grade I attended a private Catholic school. The decision was based on a discussion I had with my mom before she passed away. The public schools at that time in Santa Fe were not known for the academics, and St. Mikes had a better rate of sending kids to college.
Coming into my 7th grade year I had the feeling that I was going to be a star on the court. I was far from right. The coaching staff at St. Mikes was not a fan of my style of play. St. Mikes was a 7-12 school, and the Varsity coach had the coaches for each lower level handpick players to suit his own wishes.
Throughout my middle school and 9th grade seasons, I averaged one to two minutes a game. It came to an all-time worst when, during my sophomore year, I found myself being blamed for a game we lost even though I was only in the game for 42 seconds. I was trying everything I could to play the way that the coaching staff liked, but I enjoyed playing the game fast and loved getting up and down the court, and they wanted a slow-down game. Finally, Coach Bob Romero, who was my Junior Varsity coach, let me have it in a locker room after a loss. He expressed that my style of play was for the boys’ club league and that I might as well quit now because I would never be a Varsity player. The butt-chewing trickled into the next day when I had a 2-hour practice dedicated to me. He kept going over what it takes to be a Varsity player, and what skills I lacked to become that player. He had all of the players hold a basketball and finished the 2-hour session with this, “THE BALL IS IN YOUR COURT.”
I finished out the season, often crying with thoughts of quitting. But the thing I kept coming back to in my mind was that phrase, “The ball is in your court.” Coach Romero was wrong about so much, but he was so accurate with that comment.
I had the control to do something about all of this. If they didn’t play me, I was the one who had to make it obvious that I should be out there. My choice was: I could see all of this as a huge obstacle, impossible to get over, or I could see the obstacle for what it was, a minor detour in the road to success. All I could do was focus on being the best me.
I became addicted to working out, and although I made huge improvements to my game, my junior year found me on JV yet again and on the bench for Varsity. By the middle of the season I had moved up to just Varsity, but still found myself playing 1-3 minutes a game. I had worked so hard, and yet nothing seemed to be working. Then finally, something happened.
We played a game leading to the district semi-final. The point guard, who was playing ahead of me, came down with an injury during the last part of the game. It forced the coaches to play me the rest of the game. We won that game, but there was serious doubt for the next game to come. In our previous match-up with the team we would be playing, we had lost by 36. However, the second time we met them, I wound up hitting the last-minute free throws to win the game.
The time finally allowed for the opportunity, and I seized it. My senior year, with a whole new coaching staff intact, was amazing. We wound up winning a state title, I was named all-state first team, and I received a scholarship to play college basketball.
It took a long time to reap the reward of my hard work. All the countless hours of gym time and endless hours of focus finally paid off. Imagine if I would have quit when Coach Romero said to, or even before that when I was the last one coming off the bench to play the scrap minutes in blowout games.
Without perseverance, our dreams would never manifest because we would be dissuaded every time someone said to quit. Every time a bump in the road occurred, we would put a stop to it all. When you want something bad enough, you go after it. The question is: Do you have the perseverance to climb the mountain that may be on your path to success?
Our next topic is planning. Perseverance is a great tool to have, but without the plan the chance of success is limited.
Until Next Time,